This fine impression of the celebrated print engraved by mezzotint engraver John Raphael Smith after a painting by Henry Danloux shows the subject on the deck of a ship in the heat of the Battle Camperdown. It is framed in an ornate giltwood frame with a paper label on the reverse showing a coat of arms flanked by the inscription ‘Admiral Lord Viscount Duncan when Victorious off Camperdown, is by permission most humbly dedicated to the Hon. Miss Jane Duncan by her most obedient Servant H.P.Danloux London. Published by H. P. Danloux No 11 Charles Street, Middlesex Hospital. May 1 1800.’ English, circa 1800.
This image was described in John Chaloner Smith’s landmark catalogue of British Mezzotinto Portraits in 1878 as follows:
Admiral Viscount Duncan (1731-1804) was the victor of the Battle of Camperdown. Born into a naval family, he served under Captain Robert Haldane and Admiral Keppel. He was promoted to commander in 1759, having already been present at many important battles in the mid to late 1750s. He achieved his final rank as Commander-in-Chief of the North Sea by 1795. Duncan’s most famous victory was that at Camperdown, which ended in a total defeat of the Dutch fleet, despite heavy losses on both sides. The action was considered to be Britain’s most comprehensive naval victory to date, and Duncan returned home as a hero and sat for several portraits in the coming months. He retired from active service in 1800, dying unexpectedly in 1804.
Henry (Henri-Pierre) Danloux was born in France and specialised in royal and aristocratic portraits until forced to flee to England in 1792 as the Revolution took hold. Once settled in Britain, Danloux’s studio was in London, but he undertook numerous trips to Edinburgh to see the French Royal family in exile in Holyrood House and continued to paint them and members of the Scottish aristocracy and nobility amongst whom was Admiral Duncan.